chapter  6
Views of Ancient Egypt from a West African Perspective
Pages 16

There are several different scenarios in which relationships between West Africa and Ancient Egypt have been claimed. The first three themes are broadly interrelated. One view is that Ancient Egypt was the source of civilization in the West African region, a view expressed by European diffusionist scholars. A second idea is that Ancient Egypt was the original home of some West African peoples before they migrated southwards. This latter view has been incorporated into oral traditions, for example from the Yoruba of Nigeria, concerning migrations of people from the ‘East’. Evidence for this theory was also discovered in ethnographies. A third view is that of some African or ‘Afrocentrist’ scholars who take the authors of ancient Egyptian civilization to be black Africans and claim that evidence abounds to establish a link between the Ancient Egyptians and some present West African peoples. This ‘Afrocentric’ view claims that the assertion that the Ancient Egyptians were light-skinned has no proof, scientific or otherwise. A final and unrelated viewpoint, which has emerged for example in Nigeria, focuses on Egypt as expressed in recent Christian teaching and concerns the perceived role of Ancient Egypt in the Bible.